You may have heard some rumours already about this years Nobel Peace Prize Nominees. Even though the Nobel Prize organisation don’t officially reveal any of the nominations but rather just announce the winner, you may have heard that The White Helmets are one of this years nominees. I for one really hope and wish this to be true.
So who are these White Helmets? The White Helmets (or the Syrian Civil Defence) are a group of around 2500 Syrian volunteers, formed in 2013, from all walks of life, both men and women who are dedicating their lives to saving civilian people. The are there to dig people out from rubbel after barrel bombs dropped by the Syrian government forces or the Russians dropping cluster bombs claiming to fight ISIS as well as ground rebels blowing cars up with IEDs at the side of the road. They try to save lives regardless of who they are on all sides of the conflict, young as well as old. The pledge humanity, solidarity and impartiality. The rush in when no one else is there to help. With bakeries and markets being two of the most common targets they are quickly on their way to rescue people even though the same spot is likely to to be hit again. So for it is estimated that the White Helmets have saved around 60 000 lives. Where the UN Security Council has failed, where we, the world watching have failed, the White Helmets are there to save lives. Completely unarmed they save souls, enemy of friend doesn’t matter. To find out more about them or donate a small amount to help improve their services visit the White Helmets website.
If you have nothing do this Sunday afternoon I can highly recommend watching the Nextflix documentary about the White Helmets. It’s only 40 minutes long, but it’s really good. It’s sad, terrifying and eye opening at the same time as it is inspiring and give me a little glimmer of hope. Be prepared with tissues, I certainly cried a few times. It follows couple of the volunteers in Aleppo, one of the worst affected cities in Syria, in spite of a recent seasefire. As you read, the BBC, Reuters, CNN are all reporting on the troubles in Aleppo, from the city being left with no water supply to 6 children being killed by barrel bombs in the last 2 hours. What this short documentary provide is some human faces right in the middle if all the suffering. It makes it clear that these are not people who we have nothing in common with besides being inhabitants of the same planet. Rather the contrary, it shows that they are humans who are able to see beyond religion, politics and borders. The have hopes and dreams for their children, wishing they too can grow up to fulfil their dreams.
I by no means claim to understand all the ins and outs of the complex issue(s) in Syria. Seems to me it’s a massive tangled web linked to world wars, Cold War, capitalism, the weapons industry, profits and so on. It’s endless. But what I can do is feel compassion for all the innocent people suffering. Pictures of children floating up drowned on the beaches in the Mediterranean. Imagines of children begging for their dads not to leave them at the side of stretcher. Pictures of children covered in dust from a bomb having destroyed everything around them. It has to stop.
I think ink it would send a wonderful message to the world if the White Helmets won the Nobel Peace Prize. A message that all humans on this planet have equal value and should have the right to be treated as such.
Let there be light. Let there be love. To save a life, is to save all of humanity.